Friday night I saw two shows and came away uplifted. Not that they were great, few things are, but the artists were trying: it wasn’t the same old crap, or at least it was in new bottles.
Someone in Texas Loves You was in a 10×10′ Public Storage locker off Westheimer Road in Houston. Even getting to it was an adventure- obviously, security and limited access are the primary selling points for cubicles in one of these gated communities of unwanted stuff, so holding a public opening in one is anathema. Shouting at the gate attracted the attention of the artists Heath West and Michael Bhichitkul, who cranked open the portcullis and let us in.
West joked that the space was a mock-up of the duo’s booth at the NADA art fair, but wasn’t far off- they had built a ad-hoc sketch of a white cube into the corrugated metal locker, complete with polished concrete floors and overhead fluorescent lighting.
West’s sensitively cyanotyped linen “non-paintings” were attractively tactile. Ostentatiously handmade, he pieced together swatches of patterned fabric that had a romantic formalism like the best modern quilts, but were less insanely labor intensive.
Bhichitkul is a prolific photographer specializing in playful, low-intensity dramas featuring suggestively altered objects. His new work edged towards assemblage: including a real-life mini-cooler of iced Tabasco sauce, (clearly conceived before the artist knew the temperature that night was to be in the mid 40’s!) and actual ribbons conjoining framed photos of balloons.
Neat, cute and smart, the show made up for some solid, if unexciting work with the adventure of accessing the odd venue.